Frequently Asked Questions

At DSS, we exclusively work with Maryland Social Security Disability Law. Our team helps applicants from the very first application through to appeals and everything in between. Because of our experience, we also know there are some common and frequently asked questions we get. Here are some of them.

How long will I wait for a disability hearing?

A disability hearing can take up to two years. This is from the beginning of the initial request until a hearing is held and a decision is issued. However, the time varies from application to application.

When do you recommend that I hire a Disability Attorney?

You or any claimant may get representation at any time during the application process. There are some that get representation at the beginning and others that reach out once denied. That being said, having a lawyer at the hearing level is critical.

Also note, we highly suggest you seek representation immediately if you receive a denial letter. You only have 60 days to file an appeal from the date on the denial letter.

What does a Disability Lawyer do?

In broad terms, disability lawyers analyze what needs to be proven to win benefits, figure out how to prove it, and gather the necessary evidence. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Obtain reports from treating doctors that are consistent with Social Security regulations.
  • Gather additional medical records from doctors/specialists that answer questions raised by the SSA.
  • Ask that a prior application for benefits be reopened.
  • Request subpoenas to ensure the presence of crucial witnesses or documents.
  • Advise the claimant on how best to prepare for and testify at the hearing.
  • Object to improper evidence or procedures at the hearing.
  • Cross-examine vocational experts and medical experts during the hearing.
  • Present a closing statement at the hearing.
  • Submit a written summary of the evidence and argument.
  • If the claimant wins, make sure the SSA correctly calculates benefits.
  • If the claimant loses, request a review of the hearing decision by the Appeals Council.
Should I apply for disability?

If your answers match the ones below, the Social Security Administration (SSA) is likely to award you benefits.

  • Are you gainfully employed? No
  • Are you able to work? No
  • Do you have a severe impairment? Yes
  • Will your impairment last 12 months or result in death? Yes
  • Does your disability meet one of SSA’s listed impairments? If yes, you qualify.
What is the biggest mistake made by applicants?

Because the majority of appeals are granted at a hearing, failing to appeal a denial to the hearing level is the number one error. Unfortunately, this is very common. Here are other common mistakes to avoid.

When should I apply for disability benefits?

If you have an obvious long-term disability you should apply immediately.

Otherwise, the best time to apply for Social Security disability benefits is 6-9 months after you stop working. Regardless of when you apply make sure that you are seeing your doctor(s) regularly to build your medical evidence.

Should I have a Disability Lawyer help me apply?

Many people find this to be a great help. Navigating any government benefits program can be difficult. DSS makes it easier. We can help at any point in the initial and reconsideration process. From submitting the initial application to filing appeals, our team does it all. Call us at 410-244-0006 or via our online form.

How much does a Disability Attorney cost?

The typical fee is 25% of back benefits, up to a maximum set by the Commissioner of Social Security, which is currently $6,000. However, when appeals beyond the Administrative Law Judge hearing level are involved, the fee can be more.

What are hearings like?

They are private, held in a small conference room, and last an hour or so. You will be asked about your education, training, work experience, symptoms, limitations, and daily activities. DSS helps all our claimants with prepping for the hearing process.

What if I don't file my disability appeal on time?

If you have not filed your appeal within 65 days of the date on your denial letter, you have to start over with a new claim. That new claim may result in the loss of back benefits. If you need help with this process, please contact DSS today.

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